Conservation Council welcomes federal decision to not extend operation of Belledune coal-fired power plant beyond 2030

Seventy percent of New Brunswickers prefer to replace Belledune electricity with wind, solar and hydro generated from within the province

Traditional Land of Wabanaki People/Fredericton – The Conservation Council of New Brunswick welcomes today’s decision by federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault to not extend the operating life of the Belledune coal-fired power plant beyond 2030. The decision prevents at least 2.5 million tonnes of heat-trapping greenhouse gases going into the air by 2030; 20 percent of New Brunswick’s total greenhouse gas emissions (12.3 million tonnes in 2019).

Federal coal-power regulations require operators to cut emissions intensity by at least half of today’s levels by 2030 or to close plants. Such steep reductions require the addition of carbon capture and storage technology or plant replacement. New Brunswick had sought an equivalency agreement with the federal government to allow the coal-burning power plant to operate past the deadline of 2030. Nova Scotia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the other provinces with coal plants, have all agreed to close plants by 2030. New Brunswick was the only province seeking an extension.

“The Conservation Council supports this decision because extreme weather from climate change affects us all. We must phase out the use of fossil fuels which generate heat-trapping gases when burned, to keep people and communities safe,” says Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy Solutions at the Conservation Council.

“We call on the province and NB Power to ensure the skilled workers at the Belledune plant are offered the support they need to either transition to work on new sources of electricity supply or to retire, and that the region be engaged in planning for its own renewable energy future,” says Comeau.

The province has suggested Belledune can be replaced with hydro power brought from Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador via a new regional transmission network called the Atlantic Loop and/or construction of a small modular nuclear reactor. Neither of these options is likely to deliver electricity before 2030. New Brunswickers, when asked about the potential closure of Belledune, are clear. Seventy percent prefer to replace Belledune electricity with wind, solar and hydro generated from within the province. 


To arrange an interview, contact: Louise Comeau, Director, Climate Change and Energy Program, Conservation Council of New Brunswick | | 506-238-0355

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